Tiffany’s and tents. Neiman Marcus and needles. Macy’s and mental illness.
San Francisco’s hotel owners and managers are increasingly frustrated that their gorgeous city, with its many museums, fine restaurants and scenic vistas, has an ever-deteriorating, dismaying flip side to the postcard. In a city that spends $305 million a year to combat homelessness, those who serve as San Francisco’s hosts struggle to explain why the problem isn’t getting any better.
SF tourist industry struggles to explain street misery to horrified visitors
Tourism brings an eye-popping $9 billion into the city every year, $725 million of which comes in the form of local taxes going straight to City Hall. That’s the money helping to fund our police officers, parks, libraries — and, yes, homeless services.
Another reason to pay attention to what tourists have to say about San Francisco? They’re fresh eyes on a problem that’s so familiar to us, we just shrug and keep walking.
This month, for example, a review on TripAdvisor praised the hotel’s location, its pool, its proximity to the cable cars and the easy walk to the Ferry Building. But it ended with a jolt.
“Seeing homeless men in wheelchairs without shoes in the winter, women with infants on the streets, young men and women on the streets doing drugs, it was painful,” wrote the commenter.